The National Association of Black Journalists has criticized new organizations for “unconscious bias” in their coverage of the racially-motivated mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
“The coverage we have seen around this story reveals there is still much work to be done in how newsrooms report on issues affecting the Black community and how unconscious bias still plays a role in the way suspects and victims are portrayed in the media,” the journalism organization said Monday in an official statement on its website.
NABJ then gave the example of how the Associated Press referred to “gun violence victim Michael Brown as an ‘18-year-old Black man,’” but Payton Gendron, the suspected gunman in the Buffalo shooting, was initially described as an 18-year-old “white teenager.”
“All too often, white suspects are treated much more carefully in the media than Black victims. This must end now,” NABJ stated.
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Also in its statement, the group asked news organizations to offer mental health resources to Black journalists covering the shooting, and encouraged its members to look into projects such as the The Black Male Media Project, which helps provide insights on how to change the narrative on how Black men are portrayed in the media.
As previously reported, a white gunman went on a shooting rampage Saturday in Buffalo, killing 10 people and injuring three others in a predominantly Black neighborhood.
Authorities said the shooting was a “racially motivated hate crime.”
CNN reports Gendron, the alleged shooter, had posted online for months on the chat app Discord and shared on online forum 4chan about plans regarding the shooting, including surveying the Tops Friendly Markets where the shooting occured.
The suspect currently is being held at the Erie County Holding Center in Buffalo and is under suicide watch, according to local NBC station WGRZ-TV.
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